Carey Baptist Grammar School
Our design ambition was to create a pre-tertiary setting for senior students — to enhance the opportunities for informal and social interaction alongside the more formal learning environments.
The senior school quadrangle, which was created alongside the library and canteen, has been a huge success in this regard. It created a new culture in the school whereby students and staff interact outside of formal learning times in an “internet cafe” style environment. This is seen as a significant shift forward educationally in this school environment.
The new senior school building on three levels has taken this concept of informality in the circulation spaces further by creating irregular shaped areas with seating for impromptu gatherings and to move away from sterile corridor locker spaces. The formal learning spaces all have floor provision for computer access (laptops or otherwise) and the senior school environment is also totally connected internally and externally via wireless access.
Within the building, staff work spaces were intermingled with the formal and informal learning spaces and were wrapped in glass for high transparency. Staff wanted to be seen to be available as much as possible.
At the planning stage, staff were intimately involved by contributing to decisions in our office via on-line CAD technology. Consequently they could see the design evolve instantly in response to thoughts they had. Consequences were highlighted and in some cases they changed their minds when they saw the implications of their contributions. This meant, that at the end of the process, they had a high degree of ownership of the plans.